A pair of shoes once worn

Once filled with bones and flesh,
pulsating blood,
a pair of shoes,
once worn when waiting
for a piece of bread
for the train
for beginnings and this end
of being sorted left or right
Now laced together, paired
waiting with the other shoes,
for feet now turned to ash.


Kim hosts dVerse today and the subject is shoes. Write a poem about a pair of shoes. what is their story or maybe your story. My choice was to write a reminder of how memories of atrocities can be.

32 responses to “A pair of shoes once worn

  1. Oh how this causes my heart to weep. You have been on a roll since your return. I lost relatives I have never met in the Holocaust or had relatives forever scarred by their survival. This brings to mind Cameron’s remarks when videos of the Titanic came to light…the shoes left behind on the floor of their icy grave, the dead eaten or borne away by the tides.

  2. A very deep, and sad story. Oh, the horrors that each pair could tell. Chilling to the bone. Great write.

  3. This is so powerful, Bjorn, chilling and a reminder. Lines that touched me deeply are:
    ‘once worn when waiting
    for a piece of bread
    for the train’
    ‘waiting with the other shoes,
    for feet now turned to ash’.

  4. A couple of years ago I learned, to my gasping disbelief, that a teacher in a town neighboring my city was teaching his students the holocaust never happened. We must NEVER forget the atrocity. Your photo and words are heartrending.

  5. Whew. I was not ready for this. Goodness. So well crafted, and a punch in the gut. As all things holocaust should always, always be. May we never forget.

  6. Mon Dieu, this is so powerful and heart-wrenching, Bjorn. Those dark moments in our history must be kept alive so that they don’t happen again. Poetry is a most effective way to do it.

  7. kaykuala

    waiting with the other shoes,
    for feet now turned to ash.

    War-time aftermath that can be most destructive to the civilian population. True in any forms of conflicts!

    (managed to get thru’ Bjorn)

  8. You captured it… This is a haunting photo – I also was at the Holocaust Museum (I think 3 times now) and they have a display of shoes… the smell go to me – but I stayed and really looked at each shoe… so so sad.

  9. there is nothing as evocative of death as a pair of empty shoes – multiplied it becomes atrocity:
    “Now laced together, paired
    waiting with the other shoes,”

  10. Powerful … your words shock … as indeed, such atrocities should shock … even years later: such atrocities should shock.

  11. I’ll never forget the roomful of shoes at Yad Vashem holocaust museum in Jerusalem…victims of Nazi hate, casualties of war’s evil.

  12. I read this before seeing the image. Oh the difference one photo can make to the interpretation! Eerily vivid. At first, I was repulsed by the pulsating blood, then inrealized, repulsed is the appropriate sentiment.

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